Million Tree City: Edinburgh residents being given 10,000 free trees to help fight climate change

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Edinburgh residents are being offered free trees to help fight climate change

A new scheme that aims to distribute 10,000 free trees to Edinburgh residents in a bid to help tackle the climate crisis continues at Inverleith Park this weekend following last week’s popular launch at Inch Nursery.

The Edinburgh Million Tree City Giveaway is a partnership between Edinburgh City Council, Edinburgh Lothians and Greenspace Trust (ELGT) and the Woodland Trust, which encourages people to plant more trees in their gardens by 2030. It plans to give away 1,000 trees by the end of March and a further 9,000 between November 2023 and March 2024.

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The initiative was launched by Culture and Communities convener, Val Walker, who said the scheme had a ‘fantastic goal’ that will ‘make the city an even greener place to live for future generations.’

The next event to collect a free tree will be at Inverleith Park on March 3 between 12pm to 3pm and March 4 between 10am to 2pm
Photo: Stephen Bowler, FlickrThe next event to collect a free tree will be at Inverleith Park on March 3 between 12pm to 3pm and March 4 between 10am to 2pm
Photo: Stephen Bowler, Flickr
The next event to collect a free tree will be at Inverleith Park on March 3 between 12pm to 3pm and March 4 between 10am to 2pm Photo: Stephen Bowler, Flickr

Speaking to the Evening News at Inch Nursery, Cllr Val Walker said: “All of us can contribute to making Edinburgh a million tree city which is a fantastic goal and I am determined we are going to achieve it. There are things that the government and council can do but there is so much we as individuals can do and the project like this is are wonderful – who wouldn’t want to have a lovely tree in their garden?”

Hundreds of people attended the launch of the scheme last weekend (February 24 and 25) to collect a tree where they had a choice of ten species including hazel, wild cherry, holly and silver birch. The next event to collect a free tree will be at Inverleith Park on March 3 between 12pm to 3pm and March 4 between 10am to 2pm. Further dates will be announced on the tree time website.

In addition to providing habitats for wildlife, cleansing water and creating an improved aesthetic to urban areas, trees also absorb and store CO2, before transferring the greenhouse gas into oxygen.

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An i-Tree Eco survey published in 2016 revealed that urban trees in Edinburgh intercepted 183 million litres of water over a three-year period between 2013 and 2016 – saving nearly quarter of a million pounds in sewage charges. Edinburgh trees also removed close to 5000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere each year. The report added that 75 per cent of trees recorded were privately managed.

The Edinburgh Million Tree City scheme will give away 1,000 trees by the end of March and a further 9,000 between November 2023 and March 2024. Residents can choose from 10 species of tree, including wild cherry, silver birch, hazel and alder.The Edinburgh Million Tree City scheme will give away 1,000 trees by the end of March and a further 9,000 between November 2023 and March 2024. Residents can choose from 10 species of tree, including wild cherry, silver birch, hazel and alder.
The Edinburgh Million Tree City scheme will give away 1,000 trees by the end of March and a further 9,000 between November 2023 and March 2024. Residents can choose from 10 species of tree, including wild cherry, silver birch, hazel and alder.

Charlie Cumming, CEO of Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust said: “Urban trees are crucial in mitigating against climate change. Trees in gardens help to create habitats for wildlife, provide shade and make a garden more attractive. The free tree scheme will increase the number of trees in the city to help achieve a million tree city by 2030.”

Tim Hall, head of estates and programmes at Woodland Trust Scotland, said: “We are facing a climate emergency and a nature emergency. Planting trees is one of the easiest and simplest things we can do to counter both crises so I hope people will come forward for these free trees.”

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